14 MAY 2018 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL TALKING POINTS Former Diplomats to Congress: Restore Power and Influence of U.S. Diplomacy M ore than 200 former U.S. ambassa- dors and other high-level diplo- mats wrote a letter to Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the ranking member of the committee. The March 21 letter asked the sena- tors and their colleagues to use Mike Pompeo’s confirmation hearing for the job of Secretary of State as an opportu- nity to “focus public attention on the urgent need to restore the power and influence of American diplomacy.” The letter was signed by those who have served both Republican and Democratic administrations, including many Career Ambassadors such as William Burns, Ruth Davis, Elizabeth Jones, Thomas Pickering, Nicholas Burns and J. Stapleton Roy. They urged the senators to support four main elements needed to get American diplomacy back on solid footing: policy leadership, resources, staffing and oversight. The former diplomats implored the administration not to retreat from global engagement, which they call a “strategic tool” to protect our country. “Without an engaged diplomatic component of national power, we weaken our alli- ances, lose credibility in the eyes of both our partners and our adversaries and increase the likelihood of unnecessary and costly wars,” they wrote. The diplomats requested that senators ask Secretary-designate Pompeo to give his views on U.S. global engagement and also present “his vision for adequately funding the diplomacy required to promote and protect America’s sovereignty, security and prosperity” during the hearing. H ubert Hubert Humphrey swept the Foreign Service into his abrazo of ebullient optimism and sketched out the role of America’s diplomats in an all-but-explicit campaign canvas entitled “The Rising Sun of American Promise.” The Vice President of the United States was address- ing the first annual awards luncheon of the American Foreign Service Association on April 18. He presented the $1,000 Rivkin and $1,000 Harriman Awards to two officers of the Foreign Service whom the vice president identified with “the humanitarian generation” of American life today. … He saw the Foreign Service families’ devotion to teaching people around the world how to share and how to give as representing the truest aspirations of American life. —Excerpted from a news article of the same title in the May 1968 FSJ . 50 Years Ago Humphrey Stars in Rivkin-HarrimanAwards Ceremony The letter expressed concern about the more than 50 ambassadorial posts that remain unfilled, as well as the 16 of 22 unfilled assistant secretary positions. The signatories recommended that Pompeo be asked about his plans for “ending the very damaging hiring freeze, and his ideas on how the State Department should be held accountable for meeting clear met- rics for diplomatic readiness to include staffing levels and competent training at each rank of the career services.” They also suggested the senators ask Pompeo about his commitment to con- gressional oversight to “assess diplomatic readiness, priorities and resource needs.” Amb. (ret.) William Burns told the Washington Post that the letter was a product of the signatories’ “profound concern about the broad attitude of dis- missiveness to diplomacy, the marginal- ization of professional diplomats and the corrosion of the institution.” “The letter itself is not advocating any policy position,” added Amb. (ret.) Nancy McEldowney. “It’s advocating for a robust international engagement with allies and dialogue across the board, to achieve whatever policy ends up being.” More U.S. Diplomats Expelled from Russia O nMarch 29, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that it woul d expel 150 Western diplomats, including 60 Americans, in retaliation for the expulsion of 150 Russians fromnearly two dozen countries in the wake of the Kremlin’s alleged role in the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England . Russia also announced that the U.S. Con- sulate General St. Petersburg would close. The Russians declared 58 diplomats in Moscow and two at the consulate in Ekat- erinburg to be persona non grata; all were required to leave the country by April 5. Themove is the latest in an ongoing series of diplomatic spats withMoscow. In July 2017, after the U.S. Congress imposed a new round of sanctions, Russia cut the U.S. presence in Russia by 755 people, including both diplomats and locally engaged staff.